Friday, November 27, 2009
Inexpensive seafood, somewhat of an oxymoron, falls into several categories. 1- Semi-edible inexpensive seafood, proceed with caution. 2- Passable inexpensive seafood is out there, but again, be wary. 3- Tasty inexpensive seafood can be found with a little research. 4- Delicious inexpensive seafood is in your dreams. A fallacy. Until now. Let me introduce you to Luke's Lobster on 7th Street in the East Village. My new go-to for that seafood fix, and open close to midnight 7 days a week. After having just 1 lobster roll, it's amazing how many urges I've needed to temper. I'm talking daily occurrences. Sometimes I'm able to shove them under the rug. Other times I find myself hopping on the 1 to the N,R and walking several blocks just to satiate the jones. Or if the hunger pangs are unbearable I take the helicopter to the Houston and East River landing.
As if it isn't obvious, I love seafood (see header photo). Especially fresh, high quality fruits from the sea. Lobster belts keep the ass from showing. I think it might be time to truly go overboard and make the wardrobe strictly H hats and Polo lobster get-ups. Let me mull it over. When word dropped that Luke's was to open on October 1st, being sourced directly from a Maine seafood processing plant, I nearly lost my shit. Nah, it wasn't that dramatic, but the anticipation brewed. With Mara's Homemade around the corner, the crustacean market was on smash down there, the Crustacean Corridor, Briny Boulevard, Shellfish Street, yeah yeah yeah.
Let's discuss the goods. Luke's offers 3 types of rolls: lobster, crab (Jonah crab), and shrimp. Aware of the quality of their product, they keep ingredients to a minimum and let the seafood shine. No posse is needed on the stage to distract from lack of talent. These motherfuckers shut shit down. Grand opening, grand closing. Damn- my bad. Didn't mean to get all crazy, but this is an accurate depiction of the feelings evoked. Don't hate me, hate Luke's for providing that aquatic crackjuice.
A lightly toasted and buttered New England (booooooo!!) style hot dog bun loaded with 4 oz. of flesh. Ayooo. No mayo, just a pinch of seasoning- oregano, pepper and a couple of other spices I believe. That's it. The seasoning just enhances the sweetness and saltiness of the meat- both lobster and crab. Delicious. I'll admit that 4 oz. doesn't sound like a lot, but the richness makes up for it. Just look at them- the chunks of plump tender claw meat about to jump out of the bun. For the big eater, you might need to double up or add on. At least it will taste good.
Lately I've been going with the crab rolls. The flaky meat is addictive. Plus I just like the way Jonah Crab sounds. No clue why. Biblical maybe? I'm fairly new to the crab carnival. Lobster been my thing for years, but lately I find lobster being too chewy, esp. the tail, and the crab just stunting hard. Having recently experienced fresh king and dungeness crab out west, it's only right I let the Atlantic crabs get some shine. Blue crabs get it in as well, but it takes a lot of work just to get a little morsel.
The crab roll costs $9, 5 beans less than the lobster roll. For now I'll keep our relationship open and keep bouncing back between the 2. Hopefully I won't give the lobster crabs. I had to.
Luke's provides several options so you can try their offerings without ordering a la carte. "A Taste of Maine" consists of a small lobster, crab and shrimp roll (2 oz. each), pair of Empress claws from the Jonah crab, Miss Vickie's Chips, and a Maine Root soda, all for $20. For the Big Willies there is the Noah's Ark, perfect for 2, or 1 starving dude- 2 small rolls of each, 4 claws, 2 chips and 2 sodas for $38. After trying the Taste of Maine I know now not to order the shrimp roll. It's not bad, just nothing near the other 2. Shrimp is easily attainable, the other stuff not so much.
The Empress claws, $5 for 4, are a nice little snack for the crabheads. The perfect accompaniment to the lobster roll. Yeah, the meal might run you $20, but there won't be one regret. You're allowed to have some fun.
The Schooner, the Luke's version of a combo meal include the roll, half a dill pickle, bag of Miss Vickie's chips and a Maine Root soda, an organic and Fair Trade Certified beverage. No HFCS in that bitch. You know how we do. I try to fall back from the fizz, but for these I'll indulge. Root beer, sarsaparilla, ginger, blueberry- joints are no joke. With all this, your appetite should be at bay for a couple of hours.
Kidding aside, please be careful around the stools. Testicle and labia snapping has been known to occur. It's worth risking be labeled as lewd in order to protect the well-being of my readers.
I'll admit that $14 for a sandwich isn't cheap. But look at what you're receiving for that amount, and compare that throughout the city. The value will become evident. My self-control is at an all-time minimum, so the idea of spending doesn't even register, even if wiser judgment says to fall back- but at least I'm smiling while doing so. Plus with every 10 rolls you purchase, the 11th is free. Make sure to keep your "Lobsta Mobsta" card(so The Departed) handy and let the spoils add up. Recently soups and chowders have been added to the repertoire. I'm sure the first of many. Also word is that they're trying to get a liquor license to aid in the consumption of the crustacean. Something to look forward to. And if all this isn't enough, for my locavores, Luke's tells you the particular New England body of water where the daily catch was caught. My inner-hippy is ecstatic.
Props to Antoinette for title inspiration. Wasn't able to find the mp3. Anyone got it?
93 E 7th St.
New York, NY 10009
Sunday-Thursday: 11 am - 11 pm
Friday and Saturday: 11 am - 1 am